back to article Evaluating enterprise application software

A seasoned ERP salesman coaching a junior colleague once said: “The trick, my boy, is to avoid the IT department like the plague for as long as possible, as they’ll just make your life complicated by asking lots of irrelevant geeky questions. Win the hearts and minds of the business people first by convincing them the software …

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Security Issues

I've found that many software vendors assume that because their software package is intended for internal use they don't need to implement any significant security measures. I think the earlier you know weather an application will meet your companies security requirements the better.

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Yup - security

I've come across systems that require all users to connected to the server as the same user - because otherwise the database throws a wobbly. So absolutely zero opportunity for any form of security - especially as the volume in question had to be mapped as a shared drive on every users desktop :-(

And then there are all the other irrelevant geeky questions - like "how much disk space will it need ?" It might be trivial, it might be less than trivial when 6 months after go-live, your dataset grows to exceed the filesystem size limit. Not just a matter of adding another disk, but of adding more disk and fudging around a bit to split the data across multiple volumes.

Another irrelevant geeky question I've always had to ask - what printers are supported. HPPCL only isn't very useful when you're entire infrastructure (for good reasons) is Postscript. You'd be amazed how many vendors can't see any reason to support anything other than HPPCL ! Second after that is "how easy is it for me to get at the print stream so I can fix print jobs to actually work/support printer features/work on network printers/etc ?"

And "Do ALL bits work on OS <insert preference> ?" Isn't it nice when the salesman and his 'techy sidekick' assure you that it will all run on a LInux server. And then you find that an essential, must run all the time, component is Windoze only. Grrr.

And lastly, how about "what other (usually expensive) bits of hardware and software will be needed that you aren't telling us about ?" Hands up those that haven't found themselves in one of those "but you'll need to by SuperWidgetProX" for that promised feature to work - and it only costs the other arm and leg" situations ?

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Unhappy

Sigh...

Statements like the one made by the ERP salesman, really p****s me off... Salesmen (generally) don't know squat about IT, and just because they don't understand a (geeky) question, doesn't mean the question is irrelevant!

I've seen time and time again that you are asked to centrally host some application and they already purchased the application without for one second considering "that geeky stuff". Often, because of politics, you are forced to host that application, whether it can be administered and backed up with your standard applications/tools/procedures or not. They don't want to think about "that pesky irrelevant geeky stuff", but what happens when it comes crashing down and you aren't able to adequately perform a disaster recovery? Right, IT gets the blame (again)!

So yes, it is very relevant that IT is involved early in the process!

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Silver badge

"Is IT's input really necessary nowadays?"

Daft question.[1]

MarketingA exists to market CompanyA's ProductA to CompanyB.

ManagementB exists to maximize CompanyB's shareholder profit.

ManagementB has no clue how stuff actually works, they are purely money motivated.

MarketingA takes advantage of this, using obfuscation (and sometimes outright lies) to convince ManagementB to buy into whatever product CompanyA is building.

When TechnologyTrackFolksB suggest to ManagementB that they have been taken in by MarketingA, and are making a drastic mistake because (insert technical reason here), ManagementB goes with the explanation offered by MarketingA, because it is easier for ManagementB to understand the outright bullshit MarketingA has told them.

When Marketing convinces Management that people with an actual clue as to how things work in the real world (and in fact were actually HIRED to make decisions in that aspect of running the business!) are "only trying to confuse them" ... well, do the math(s).

This whole "cloud" meme is due to die a slow, painful death. Preferably sooner, rather than later.

[1] Worse than daft. It doesn't even scale on first blush ... Consider: if IBM, HP, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo are all trading *AAS, do none of them actually have the IT department involved in making IT decisions? Boiling it down to basics, *AAS is a marketing term, not an IT term. It doesn't really work over the long-haul in the real world ... Not with CPU, memory, disk and bandwidth as cheep to own outright as they are today. Marketing and Management are not IT, and shouldn't be making IT decisions. They quite simply aren't equipped to make those decisions, any more than the average accountant or Fuller Brush Man is equipped to spec out a new data center.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

enterprise single sign on

oh yeah... our app does single sign on. just make sure the users don't need passwords that are longer than 8 chars. Its not like anyone would store longer passwords in LDAP anyway.

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Flame

I'm sure we've all seen the results

From what I've seen of <insert major database manufacturer's name here> student record system, it seems to have been developed without any thought for the poor sods who would have to use it. And demonstrated to senior managers who couldn't spell the word "usability" never mind having any concept of what it is! Perhaps the geeks are asking pesky user interface design questions? I certainly hope so!

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